Dawn Tolbert

Writer
#366Days (be)loved Faith Reflections

My Top 3 Lessons of 2017

I’ve been meaning to write this post, reflecting a little on the year just past, but 2018 has had us hopping. My hubby’s alma mater played not one, but two games on its quest for a national championship, which unfortunately didn’t work out quite like we’d hoped.

But before we’re too far into 2018, I wanted to share three lessons I learned in 2017 and hopefully they’ll help me stay on track and be more confident in this new year and beyond.

My disclaimer is that these aren’t the only lessons I learned last year — and I reserve the right to remember other ones later down the road, but first up is lesson three:

It’s okay to need time.

If you read my blog regularly, you know I can be a bit of an overachiever. I always set lofty goals for myself at the beginning of a year, and when I think about some of those 2017 goals, I realize I didn’t quite do all I’d hoped.

But that’s okay because a big part of 2017 was about putting one foot in front of the other. My Daddy passed away in September of 2016 so several months of 2017 turned out to be about completing the year of firsts. I miss him every day, but 2017 taught me a lesson that 2016 only started: It’s okay to need time. It’s okay to mourn. It’s okay to grieve.

I guess it’s only natural that lesson would lead to a related one — number two on my list for 2017:

It’s okay to start again.

Part of the grieving process, for me at least, was wanting to withdraw from certain responsibilities, to conserve my limited energy by just saying no.

But then, slowly, I wanted to go and do and to begin again. And that’s okay. Life returned to my days, and while I’m not exactly — as my daddy often said — jumping any fence posts, I am moving forward again and beginning to be able to think about returning to work on big projects like revising my novel and tackling blogging and even scarier writing assignments.

And that leads to lesson number one:

It’s okay to share dreams with others.

One of the things I’ve felt called to in recent months (and maybe longer) is using my writing to minister to women. You have no idea how much it frightens me to even type those words, but my prayer is truly that “the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart (and fingers) will be pleasing to You, O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer” — Psalm 19:14.

As I blogged through my #366Days Challenge, I felt God defining a niche for me, guiding my hand and mind and heart. And I’ve prayed and prayed about how to do that and how that desire should intersect with my work in my church.

And eventually I got brave enough to begin to share my thoughts with other women.

I discovered other hearts were being called to start a women’s ministry in our church — and our first Heart to Heart ladies banquet was a roaring success AND a great event where Jesus’ name was glorified.

I also discovered other women who wanted a small group Bible study. So we gather each Sunday morning to seek the Lord’s face and open our hearts to His teaching through scripture. We started our class by going through a Bible study that I wrote based on the book of Jonah — a study that I’m working toward expanding into book form during 2018.

What I found was the greatest lesson of all of 2017: When God calls us to a work, He is already at work around us. We need to find what He is doing and join in, listening and being obedient to His guidance. And we need to do it all for His honor and glory.  When God calls us to a work, He is already at work around us. We need to join in. Click To Tweet

If we can do that, then any year can be our very best.

2 Comment

  1. This is a great post Dawn! I have come to you for advice, solace, inspiration, guidance, and friendship over the past 11+ years and I cannot think of anyone better to minister to women. You have an insightful mind and a kind spirit. Follow your heart.

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